Use your senses!
As spring brings longer days and warmer weather, we’re urging customers and employees to be aware of potential gas leaks and stay safe
As the spring thaw begins – following a record cold winter season for the Northeast – we’re reminding customers, and you, what actions to take if you suspect a natural gas leak. Also how to avoid exposure to potentially deadly carbon monoxide.
This winter hasn’t just been hard on those of us trying to stay warm. Frigid temperatures, and now the current season of repeated thawing and freezing, can also affect underground pipe systems. And even though our system is safe and operating normally, it’s always important to know to call your natural gas service provider immediately if you suspect a gas leak.
Take a look at the timely and critical messages we’re spreading to our customers …
Use your senses
Since natural gas leaks are often recognized by smell, sight or sound, we’re encouraging customers to ‘use their senses’ to stay vigilant about potential gas leaks:
SMELL – Natural gas is colorless and odorless. A harmless substance called mercaptan, which has a distinctive, pungent odor similar to rotten eggs, is added so you’ll recognize it quickly.
SIGHT – Outdoors you may see a white cloud, mist, fog and bubbles in standing water or blowing dust. You may also see vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no apparent reason.
SOUND – You may hear an unusual noise like roaring, hissing or whistling
If you suspect a natural gas leak, call us!
National Grid’s number one priority is the safety of the public. Our natural gas leak management program supports this priority and is consistent with current industry standards and similar to those of other gas distribution companies.
Like any fuel, natural gas is safe when used properly. In the interest of customer and public safety, National Grid crews continually test, repair and improve the underground system that delivers natural gas … and we’ve increased patrolling of our system to monitor any potential gas leaks in light of recent harsh temperatures. But, the possibility does exist for a gas leak in or near your home.
Any natural gas leak is a potentially hazardous situation. If you suspect a, we recommend that you:
- Evacuate your home and move to a safe area.
- Do NOT smoke, light matches or do anything to create a flame.
- Do NOT touch any light switches or electrical equipment and do NOT pull any plugs from outlets. These items may produce a spark that might ignite the gas and cause an explosion.
- If you have a gas range or oven, make sure the controls are turned OFF. Extinguish any easily accessible open flames such as lit candles, but never try to put out a fire you suspect may be caused by escaping gas. Leave immediately.
- Do NOT assume someone else will report the condition.
- Call National Grid’s gas emergency number from a safe location (these are dedicated phone numbers and our crews are on call 24/7 and will respond immediately):
– Massachusetts: 1-800-233-5325
– Rhode Island: 1-800-640-1595
– LI and the Rockaways: 1-800-490-0045
– Metro NY: 1-718-643-4050
– Upstate NY: 1-800-892-2345
- Provide the exact location, including cross streets.
- Let us know if sewer construction or digging activities are gong on in the area.
- Do NOT return to your home until National Grid tells you it’s safe.
Carbon monoxide safety
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly if left undetected. It’s the byproduct of the incomplete burning of fuels like natural gas, butane, propane, wood, coal, heating oil, kerosene and gasoline. Common sources of CO include malfunctioning forced-air furnaces, kerosene space heaters, natural gas ranges, wood stoves, fireplaces and motor vehicle engines.
During the heating season – when windows and doors are tightly shut – fresh air is sealed out, creating the potential for carbon monoxide to build up over time. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu and can include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control.
If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and call 911 first. Then call the appropriate National Grid emergency contact number:
- Massachusetts: 1-800-233-5325
- Rhode Island: 1-800-640-1595
- LI and the Rockaways: 1-800-490-0045
- Metro NY: 1-718-643-4050
- Upstate NY: 1-800- 892-2345
Do NOT return to your home until the carbon monoxide source is found.
Carbon monoxide prevention tips:
- Arrange for an annual check of your heating system by a licensed professional heating contractor. If you haven’t had your heating system inspected yet, call now.
- Check chimneys or flues for debris, bird nests or other blockages, and have them cleaned periodically.
- Be sure space heaters and wood stoves are in good condition, have adequate ventilation and are used in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- NEVER use a gas range for heating or burn coal or charcoal in an enclosed space.
- Install a government-approved home carbon monoxide detector on every floor.
- If you use a back-up generator to supply power during outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Open windows do not provide sufficient ventilation to safely operate a generator indoors.
National Grid will respond immediately to all carbon-monoxide related calls for all natural gas customers within our service area – even if you purchase gas from an alternative gas supplier or marketer. However, please always call 911 first.
For additional safety information, visit: